1 Dep. Biologia - Universidade do Minho (PORTUGAL)
2 DLYB - Don’t Lose Your Brain (PORTUGAL)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN12 Proceedings
Publication year: 2012
Pages: 3701-3708
ISBN: 978-84-695-3491-5
ISSN: 2340-1117
Conference name: 4th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 2-4 July, 2012
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Science education, which deals with the sharing and communication of science contents, processes and results with people not belonging to the scientific communities, is being increasingly considered a matter of national concern and a priority in the educational agendas of several countries. Promoting and enhancing scientific literacy of citizens is currently a major mission to modern societies, as it is believed that it will contribute to promote and train for a better informed, as well as a more conscious, critical and committed citizenship (Fiolhais, 2011). But the education for this scientific literacy is also a great challenge as target individuals may be very diverse, either in terms of age or in what concerns knowledge backgrounds, and can range from children to adults within the general public. The language, the format and the way this communication/ education is made should obviously take into consideration the public profiles to which is addressed, being as clear, accurate and demystified as possible. Also, several studies have geared to the view that scientific literacy is best taught by seeing science education as “education through science” as opposed to “science through education.” (Holbrook and Rannikmae, 2009)
Although science and technology are ubiquitous in our everyday lives, their role and impacts are not perceived equally by all citizens. For a large part of the population, science, in particular, is still something unknown, often complex, strange and distant — being seen as something intangible for those not directly related to the scientific arena. For others, scientists are still seen as a distracted figure wearing a white tap and glasses fully dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge, though this image is gradually disappearing from the nowadays collective imagination.

And what is Science made of? Is it possible to get a clear, precise and instantaneous response? Probably not! Much of what happens in science and in scientific research is still seen by many as pure magic, something transcendental. However it is important to discredit such stereotypes, throwing light on scientists´ work, science tools as well as on the human skills and qualities that make science happens. With this goal, we idealized and prepared an exhibition entitled “What is Science made of", aiming to create a new relationship between science and the general public, in an appealing, innovative and challenging way. "What is Science made of" is a set of twelve images, each one starting from a common laboratory object. The images represent a group of words expressing concepts and values that ideally mirror the relationship between science and scientists. In this work we justify the choice of the twelve words, describe the design and assembly of the set of images as well as its exhibition and the public receptiveness and reactions to such initiative.

Fiolhais C. (2011). A Ciência em Portugal. Lisboa. Fundação Francisco Manuel dos Santos.

Holbrook J. and Rannikmae M. (2009). The Meaning of Scientific Literacy. International Journal of Environmental & Science Education 4 (3): 275-288.
Science, scientific literacy, science education.